Comcast leaving the Bay Area

The movie said “if you build it, they will come it.”  More and more California businesses say, “if you tax it, we will go“:

Comcast announced Tuesday that it would shutter three Northern California call centers and consolidate them into other western U.S. centers in a few months, a move that will affect as many as 1,000 jobs.

Operations at the cable company’s call centers in Livermore, Morgan Hill and Sacramento will be shifted to centers in Oregon, Washington and Colorado at the end of November, Comcast said.

[snip]

The company’s announcement of the consolidation cited the “the high cost of doing business in California” as the impetus for the decision.

If you haven’t already, please buy yourself a copy of my friend Laer’s book, Crazifornia: Tales from the Tarnished State – How California is Destroying Itself and Why it Matters to America.  It will explain everything you need to know about Comcast’s decision.

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  • Mike Devx

    I’m surprised we haven’t seen California’s Democrat legislators up in arms, declaring that the ability of other “less civilized, more barbaric states to raid California’s best companies” is “patently unfair on its face” and “severely damages the hopes and dreams of all Californians.”
     
    Something must be done!
     
    I expect the “California Dream Economic Act” to appear any day now.  It will require companies that wish to leave California to submit a departure proposal to the California Legislature, which will vote on it in their own due time, at their own due pleasure.  Oh yes, and the companies must also submit their proposal to depart the state to 7,342 other California bureaucratic entities as well.
     
    Ayn Rand’s Wesley Mouch would be proud.
     
    Once they’re done with that, then they’ll get around to that business of saving all those bankrupt municipal pension plans by taxing the citizens of other, healthier states, to perform that “investment” in California pension plans.  After all, California is “too big to fail”, and “we’re all in this together”, and therefore the rest of the country simply must be taxed to fund those wunnerful, wunnerful high dollar pension plans.
     

  • Zhombre

    I suspect your prescient on that, Mike.  A California bailout in a second Obama administration wouldn’t surprise me either.  Frankly I think the state is too far gone.  That’s sad, but if the population there decides to bring ruin upon themselves, let it come down.  The fatal flaw in democracy is that it gives people the government they deserve.

  • MacG

    Can somebody tell me why we have a deficit again?  :)  Oh yeah, Prop 13…

  • laerpearce

    The Manhattan Institute just came out with a new study, “The Great California Exodus,” which says in part:
    “What has caused California’s transformation from a “pull in” to a “push out” state? The data have revealed several crucial drivers. One is chronic economic adversity (in most years, California unemployment is above the national average). Another is density: the Los Angeles and Orange County region now has a population density of 6,999.3 per square mile—well ahead of New York or Chicago. Dense coastal areas are a source of internal migration, as people seek more space in California’s interior, as well as migration to other states. A third factor is state and local governments’ constant fiscal instability, which sends at least two discouraging messages to businesses and individuals. One is that they cannot count on state and local governments to provide essential services—much less, tax breaks or other incentives. Second, chronically out-of-balance budgets can be seen as tax hikes waiting to happen.
     
    “The data also reveal the motives that drive individuals and businesses to leave California. One of these, of course, is work. States with low unemployment rates, such as Texas, are drawing people from California, whose rate is above the national average. Taxation also appears to be a factor, especially as it contributes to the business climate and, in turn, jobs. Most of the destination states favored by Californians have lower taxes. States that have gained the most at California’s expense are rated as having better business climates. The data suggest that many cost drivers—taxes, regulations, the high price of housing and commercial real estate, costly electricity, union power, and high labor costs—are prompting businesses to locate outside California, thus helping to drive the exodus.
    “Population change, along with the migration patterns that shape it, are important indicators of fiscal and political health. Migration choices reveal an important truth: some states understand how to get richer, while others seem to have lost the touch. California is a state in the latter group …”
    It’s interesting to note the authors cite density as a cause for the exodus. What are the brilliant California legislators doing in response?  Why, passing SB 375 of course, which places massive obstacles to suburban development and incentivizes high density urban development. Natch.
    Thanks for the Crazifornia plug, Book!  I hope your readers read it – it’s getting some great reviews on Amazon.

  • Charles Martel

    I’ve just returned from a week-long road trip to the red rock country of southern Utah. It had been about 20 years since I’d been there, and what I saw gave me a lot of food for thought about the differences between Utah and California.
     
    The last time I traveled through Utah, it was a more bucolic place. Its main southern city, St. George, had not yet become a retirement Mecca for Californians and other big-state residents looking for a reasonably temperate climate in a scenically gorgeous area (minutes away from Zion National Park) in a low-tax state. California, which was about to enter the high-tech boom, was nowhere near the sorry, verging-on-bankruptcy condition it is in now. For me, the differences between the two states were straightforward urban versus semi-rural (Salt Lake City excepted). 
     
    This time, the contrasts were yawning. There is a general air of prosperity in Utah, evidenced by the “for hire” signs I saw almost everywhere, and the proliferation of Silicon Valley outposts along Interstate 15 near Salt Lake City that were practically begging for programmers and software developers. Further downstate, the highway system, mostly two-lane blacktops, is among the best maintained I’ve ever seen. St. George has metastasized into a big deal, with new office and commercial developments stretching in every direction from the old city center.
     
    So why is Utah doing so well in comparison to the vastly richer, hipper, better-situated California? 
     
    In California’s defense, you could point out that a population of 38 million heterogeneous residents is a vastly more complex and expensive group to deal with than Utah’s relatively homogenous 2.8 million residents. But how does a state with 1/14th the population of California manage to maintain a superb highway system and infrastructure over an 85,000 square-mile area, most of it across a remote desert landscape?
     
    That’s where I think great cultural differences factor in. If you look at leading indicators that tell you something about a state’s health, there are glaring contrasts. Utah has one of the highest high school graduation rates in the country despite spending far less per capita than almost every other state in the Union. Its welfare load comes nowhere near California’s in terms of percentage of people on it or the largesse they can expect to receive from the state. Its business climate is extremely receptive to start-ups and corporate relocations, something that is helped by its central location as the crossroads of the Far West. If you run an enterprise in Utah, you pay taxes, but they are not confiscatory and you are not hounded by parasitical agents from a dozen different bureaucratic satrapies like you are in California.
     
    The Mormons have a welfare system that they have run from the beginnings of their religion in the early 19th century. Every working Mormon is expected to contribute toward the maintenance and filling of warehouses that are operated by every ward (equal to a bishopric see). The warehouses contain food and the necessities of daily life, and are used to assist Mormons who fall on hard times. It is a given that those who receive such assistance work at the warehouses and promise to give back when times get better. While Mormons are thankful that have this fall-back, very few of them see it as a gimme. They know that they are obligated to reciprocate.
     
    Contrast this to California’s welfare state, run by indifferent clerks who perpetuate their power by doing all they can to increase the number of people who fall under their administrative sway. The state, which has about 1/3 of all U.S. welfare recipients living in it, is the perfection of Democratic tapeworm politics: a deliberately created permanent underclass that will continue to give the party majority power to ransack and pillage the economy. In Utah, because the main welfare system is run by local elements of Mormon Church, it is far more accountable to people than distant bureaucrats.
     
    A leftist might argue that the fact that a church is running a welfare system doesn’t take into account what happens to down-and-out people who don’t belong to the church. But such people do have recourse in Utah; there is an established welfare system. What a leftist might really object to is that the state culture is steeped in a combination of self-reliance and hard work attached to a communal ethic—all done without the agency of state coercion. People in Utah actually act as though they do not need their moral and intellectual superiors to command their lives. 
     
    All that said, would I live in Utah if circumstances allowed? Maybe. As a Californian, the vibe there is a little too hick for me. Where I live now, as Book will attest, is a beautiful place, despite its appallingly smug and reactionary politics. It would probably take a direct hit by a nuke to make me leave. But even though I may not feel entirely comfortable with the externalities of a lifestyle forged by people who are very different from me, I admire—and always will—the basic decency, honesty, and work ethic of the Saints. Would that California had not set out years ago to destroy those vital elements in its own civic life. 

  • Ron19

    Charles Martel 5:

    Comment on just the beautiful highways, in a state with more drastic weather than here in Southern California.

    The last time I was near Salt lake City, about 15-20 years ago, we passed through many miles of highway construction and upgrading, on a cold, snowy day; the ground was wet from the snow, but was not churned to deep mud.

    What really caught my attention was that the cement mixers and dump trucks had at least two more axles than California equipment.  The cement trucks had their spout facing forward; the driver did not have to get out, because there was already someone on the ground to guide the unloading.  The mixer would drive forward over the dirt directly to where it would unload, and then, considerably lighter, would back and twist and turn to get out, weighing much less.

    The extra axle secret wasn’t that secret, really.  About the same time, I was in coal-country in Kentucky.  The coal trucks there had extra axles, and portions of highways and many old bridges had weight and speed restrictions.

    Here in Santa Ana, SOCAL, the city streets near the cement plant are like washboards, because of the heavy tire loads they carry every day.   

        

  • http://OgBlog.net Earl

     
    Spent several days with my brother.  He’s active in his church, including the finance committee.  He reports that California has decided that the church volunteers (choir leader, part-time secretary, janitor, etc.) are being exploited.  Each of these folks gets a “stipend”, which is income to them, but they aren’t employees, so there has been no withholding, etc…just a 1099 at the end of the year.
     
    No more.  All of them have to be regularized, and anyone hired cannot volunteer at something else.  So the salaried secretary cannot come in on Friday afternoon to help fold bulletins for church on Sabbath morning, and the choir leader can’t volunteer her time to teach a group of kids over at the school.  The State knows what’s best, after all, and they are out to be sure that the church isn’t taking advantage of their members.  Because clearly, the church membership are too child-like to realize what’s happening to them!
     
    Just think how this would go down in Utah, and you have the reason for the differences you see.  Come to think of it, I wonder how the Saints’ system of stakes, etc. with completely volunteer leadership works here in California.  Maybe since there’s no money changing hands, they can’t get their hooks into anyone…..
     
    This state is just insane.